Why Playing Video Games can be the Pathway to a Real Career

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If you had told someone 15 years ago that playing video games constantly and getting involved with the gaming community could take them down a path to riches, they would most likely snicker at you and dismiss the idea.

With that being said, I think a lot of people today would have the exact same reaction. “By encouraging my child to play video games they could find a passion that ends up defining who they are in both their career and personal life? Goodness me, no!”

Well, doubtful parent, I’m here to tell you otherwise.

The Video Game industry is more lucrative than ever, netting over 10 billion in revenue yearly, and of course when an industry is earning this much money, there are endless employment opportunities in that sector. From designer, to video game developer, to marketer, to journalist. Video games have massive amounts of trade press and it’s probably a far more enjoyable topic to write about than what happened last night on The Bachelor.

Making serious cash from video games definitely doesn’t finish there. Thanks to the internet, social media and Twitch (which was itself sold for almost $1 billion and is a service centered around gaming) exceptionally good or hilarious video game players can literally play video games for a living. PewDiePie is the most prominent example – he’s a YouTuber who uploads ‘lets play’ style videos of him exploring gaming worlds, and he makes millions from YouTube ad revenue and he currently has over 30 million subscribers.

Then there’s e-sports. Online, competitive versions of video games that are purely skill based, now have a following, tournaments and prize money. In fact, Robert Morris University in the United States just recognised e-sports as an official part of their varsity leagues. Students can literally get academic scholarships to play League of Legends throughout University. If only my University did that…

Yes, I know what you’re thinking, ‘But these are only a few rare cases that are available to the best of the best.’ You’re right, but its exactly the same with regular sport, yet video games pose so many more opportunities for careers in the developmental and marketing side of the industry.

Video Games and Medicine

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It’s an odd combination of words, “Video Games and Medicine,” yet thanks to the Oculus Rift and games of increasing complexity, it’s becoming a more common one.

There’s been a fair bit of chatter around the medical applications of the Oculus Rift – a virtual reality headset that allows the user to be entirely immersed in whatever digital experience it’s projecting. The terminally ill or disabled can relax and live vicariously through footage of a South-East Asian holiday. The mentally handicapped can be run through simulations that are designed to stimulate brain activity and help with growth. These applications can be used on people with PTSD, young kids struggling with development and so much more.

While Virtual Reality is a new avenue where video games and medical practice can overlap, it certainly isn’t the only avenue. A study out of Florida State University by Val Shute found that the popular Valve title ‘Portal 2’ was better for training the brain and better human cognition than Lumosity, a popular online service designed to stimulate brain activity. And hey, Portal 2 has the surprising side effect of being ridiculously fun.

It doesn’t stop there – a great mini doco from National Geographic shows how researchers used the principles of video games to try and better treat stroke patients. This is definitely something you should watch, and you can check it out here